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Riding the waves of change: How to overcome uncertainty and harness opportunity

Like the ocean, nothing in life is static for very long. IT, in particular, is the fastest moving industry in the world. How can you successfully navigate such a rapidly evolving landscape? Or better yet, how can you actually thrive in such an environment?

Our People and Culture Transformation team, led by Anna Hoffman and Brad Willoughby, was born out of these very circumstances. As we prepared to undergo some big organizational changes, we asked ourselves these very questions. Now, after much collaboration and learning, we’d like to share the answers. 

This guide is broken down into four steps that can help you and your team prepare for any wave of change that the future of work may bring. None of this is overly complicated, but it does require your initiative, your focus, and a little effort.

1.    Find your passion and ready yourself

  • Change brings lots of opportunities—if you’re in a position to recognize and seize them. Before you embark on any change, it’s important to take the time to reflect on two things: 1) Your values and 2) Your goals.
  • Spend time thinking about your passions and interests. What do you find yourself coming back to over and over again? What are you most enthusiastic about? Get a clear picture of what motivates you, so you can easily recognize opportunities when they arise.
  • Realize that it’s perfectly normal to feel a number of different emotions as you navigate uncertainty. Accept these feelings and remind yourself that you already know how to ride the waves of change:

✔️Write down a couple of “change waves” that have come into your work or life. 

✔️Write down how you overcame the situation.

✔️Write down why you’re grateful for this wave. Dig deep and identify something that you learned or a relationship that you developed.

  • Now it’s time to arrange a meeting with your manager so you can start planning your journey. If this change doesn’t revolve around your career, share your plans with someone else in your life—accountability is an important motivator.

2.  Identify new skills, knowledge, and experience

  • Now that you know what you want, you can start identifying what you need to do to get there. What skills or competencies are you missing? A great way to figure out what you need to work on is to look at job descriptions online. Use your company’s internal job board or LinkedIn. Once you’ve found your ideal role, pinpoint exactly what knowledge or experience you need to get to this level.
  • Be proactive and do some research into the future of work and your chosen career area. How will this role evolve over time? Will it even exist in the future? What skills can you work on now that will help you add value?
  • Research different learning paths and find ways to start developing the skills you need. Explore the vast range of online learning resources at your fingertips. Offer to do volunteer work in your chosen field. At work, you can offer to help out on projects that will help you gain the experience you need. 

3. Set goals and start your adventure

  • Now set your career and performance goals. Break them down into manageable steps with realistic timeframes.  
  • Begin executing your plans. You might find it harder to make time for this than you originally anticipated. Don't be discouraged—simply adjust your plans and keep moving forward.
  • Discuss your progress in monthly one-one-ones with your manager. 
  • As your journey progresses, look out for someone in your chosen area who can be a mentor or coach to you. This will dramatically increase your chance of succeeding.
  • Set weekly reminders in your calendar to help you stay engaged and motivated. 

4. Bring others along for the ride

  • Discuss your journey on team calls. It will inspire others! Look out for people who could use your guidance—it’s your turn to be a mentor.
  • Get your team thinking about challenges and opportunities on the horizon and how you can meet them as a team.
  • Spend 15-30 minutes as a team talking about how you already know how to ride the waves of change. 
  • Build a community of people around you who are interested in your passion. Form a cross-functional group across different levels and regions. 
  • An engaged community will help you gather momentum. Share your passion with leadership, get their support, and help your organization learn how to ride the waves of change. 
  • Recognize that waves of change are constant and that there are always new ways to grow and develop. Use this guide as your roadmap and share it with others. 

Join the discussion

Comments ( 1 )
  • Sourabh Sagar Tuesday, June 9, 2020
    Thank you for sharing such valuable thoughts.
    All those thought are present deep inside us all the time. Still when the time for actually performing task comes , all this thoughts seem to fade away ?
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